“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Someone was surprised when I said; I was still in awe of God. The very wonder of how He works in the world today. It still amazes me after 60 yrs. of saved and sanctified life that my God goes beyond my expectation, even when I think that I have Him figured out.
Look at the very first phrase in our scripture reference: “For God so loved the world” --- not just one nation, not just one culture, not just one denomination, not just the attractive people, not just one little corner of creation, but the whole world! As the famous spiritual puts it: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” In a word, the reach of God’s love is as wide as the universe.
One sad thing that happens to us human beings is that we often forget the bigness of God’s love, and consequently, we become small and selective in our loving, limiting our love to only a favored few. Not so with God. God’s love leaps over every barrier to embrace every person. And as human beings, we become impatient with people who don’t act as we want them to act or do what we want them to do.
The great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther once became so aggravated with those around him that he cried out, “If I were God and these vile people were as disobedient as they now be, I would knock the world to pieces!” And Luther might have done that, but not so with God. The Bible underscores again and again the amazing grace of our God, and this verse (as no other) shows the enormous sweep of God’s gracious forgiving, seeking, and reconciling love for the whole world. We may reject God’s love. We may run away from God’s love. We may ignore God’s love. And our own hardness of heart may keep us out of God’s kingdom, may keep us from accepting God’s love in faith. But one thing we can know, one thing we can count on: God loves us, and God wants to bring us into the circle of His love.
It’s important to remember now that although God’s love is worldwide, it is yet very personal. Even though God’s love is vast enough to reach around the globe, still it is closer to each and every one of us than our breathing.
Remember the “Peanuts” comic strip in which Lucy announces that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Younger brother, Linus, is very upset by the prospect, and he says, “Lucy it won’t work. You can never be a doctor!” “And just why not?” Lucy retorts. “Because,” replies Linus, “you don’t love humankind. You can’t be a doctor because you don’t love humankind!” “But I do,” says Lucy, “I do! I love humankind, its people I can’t stand!”
Not so with God. The wonder of God’s love is that He loves the whole world, and he loves all the people in it. Do you see what this means? It means that you are the beloved child of God, that I am the beloved child of God, and every single person we meet in this world is the beloved child of God. The message is obvious: Accept God’s love for you and love God back, and pass God’s love on to others in this world, for in this we all become the beholders of “THE WONDERS OF GOD’S LOVE.” And that to me is awesome!!!